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MBR: The Library DVD Shelf

 
 
Midwest Book Review
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      07-02-2012
The Library DVD Shelf

Frozen Planet
David Attenborough, narrator
BBC Earth
0780685180, $39.98, www.bbcearth.com.

FROZEN PLANET features the original UK series narrated by David
Attenborough and provides the series on 3 discs: the original 7-part
BBC series in its entirety. FROZEN PLANET offers stunning images above
and below the ice at the Arctic and Antarctic, and offers a lovely
narrative that will fascinate any science fan. It comes to life on
home TV sets and having the complete series in one DVD package assures
that audiences can view it in its entirety time and again.

BBC America
www.bbcamerica.com

TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY (0780696883, $49.9 was a sensational and
revolutionary Torchwood series: revolutionary because unlike the other
Torchwood seasons of years past, it took a single premise and expanded
it. MIRACLE DAY is a day when suddenly death is halted on the planet -
bringing with it all kinds of ethical and practical issues for any
alive on that day, now endowed with immortality. For the members of
Torchwood it involves an ingoing investigation into the causes of
Miracle Day - and the ultimate changes in the human psyche that it
brings. It's simply an outstanding show, highly recommended for any
prior fan or newcomer to the Torchwood world. Torchwood had its
origins in Dr. Who and two new DVDs cover the John Pertwee years from
1970-74, offering episodes in 2-disc sets. DR WHO: THE DAEMONS
(0780691946, $34.9 tells of a professor who opens a burial mound and
a local white witch who foresees disaster, while black magic is
involved in conjuring up an ancient devil. It's up to The Doctor, Jo
and UNIT to intervene. The special DVD edition of DR WHO: CARNIVAL OF
MONSTERS (0780671023, $34.9 includes audio commentary, early edits,
behind the scenes accounts, and much more and tells of the Doctor's
test flight in the TARDIS, landing on a cargo ship in 1926. A
traveling showman from another world involves The Doctor and his
companion in a dangerous game in this tense thriller. All are top
recommendations for any science fiction DVD collection.

Project Happiness
Spring Communications
c/o Beyond Words
20827 NW Cornell Rd. Suite 500, Hillsboro OR 97124-9808
No ISBN, $19.95, www.beyondword.com

PROJECT HAPPINESS focuses on four teens from Santa Cruz, California.
Each faces personal obstacles to happiness and daily challenges, but
through Project Happiness they are introduced to peers in Nigeria and
India and become involved in conversations with all kinds of cultural
notables, from actor Richard Gere to activist director George Lucas.
Project Happiness offered them keys to a happier life, and is
presented here as an inspirational choice for any DVD collection.

Titanoboa: Monster Snake
Smithsonian Channel
c/o Inception Media Group
11620 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 900
Los Angeles, CA 90025
No ISBN DVD, $14.98, www.smithsonianchannel.com

Titanoboa: Monster Snake tells of a snake that is longer than a bus
and eats crocs for breakfast! Titanoboa, a snake that some 60 million
years ago rules the world with an iron squeeze. Scientists provide
inviting questions and facts about the truth of Titanoboa, presenting
lab research and an expedition that reconstructed the snake's
discovery, reconstruction, and life. Any natural history collection,
especially those strong in prehistoric life, will find this a winner!

Money & Medicine
a film by Roger Weisberg
Bullfrog Films, Inc.
PO Box 149
Oley, PA 19547
$295.00 www.bullfrogfilms.com

Winner of the Remi Award in the WorldFest at Houston, Money & Medicine
is a documentary that scrutinizes one of the reasons American health
care costs are skyrocketing out of control - overtreatment. The health
care field is rife with moral, ethical, and financial dilemmas, that
manifest as radically different rates in which certain expensive
treatments (that just might be unnecessary!) are performed across the
country. For example, some states have a much higher incidence of
elective Cesarean Section deliveries than others, even though the
procedure is a major surgery with significant risks. Money & Medicine
also examines heartbreaking end-of-life choices, including the modern
tendency to prolong the deaths of people whose severe organ failure
means that it is almost impossible for them to recover. Other
controversies arise over cancer screenings; should women start getting
mammograms at age 40 or 50, given that the procedure has a small
amount of risk? How aggressively should men screen for and treat
prostate cancer, especially when surgically removing an anomaly that
is statistically likely to be nonfatal can have lifelong negative side
effects such as impotence or incontinence? There is no one-size-fits-
all answer, but as health care costs continue to soar, these crucial
questions and related problems concerning the phenomenon of
overtreatment need to be faced head-on. Perhaps Money & Medicine's
most important lesson lies in its emphasis on the importance of peer
review and the group pooling of information among medical
professionals; when doctors share what they know among themselves and
collect aggregate data, they are better empowered to help their
patients make difficult, life-changing decisions. Highly recommended.
83 min.

This is Civilization
Matthew Collings, host
Athena
c/o Acorn Media Group
8515 Georgia Avenue, Suite 620
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3403
9781598288162 $39.99 www.acornonline.com

A modern update of BBC's notable 1969 series "Civilization", This is
Civilization is a four-part documentary on two DVDs that explores what
art has to say about humanity throughout the centuries. Spotlighting
on masterpieces ranging from ancient Greek sculpture and the temples
of Egypt to the geometric patterns of mosques, the fiery art of the
French Revolution, pioneers of modern art such as Picasso and Pollack,
and even the stinging indictments of commercialized pop culture
crafted by Chinese artist and photographer Wang Qingsong. A grand
showcase of artistic masterpieces, This is Civilization is the next
best thing to attending museums in person, further enriched by host
Matthew Collings extensive commentary on the rich interplay between
art and human culture. Bonus features include a 12-page viewer's guide
peppered with articles, and biographies of profiled artists, This is
Civilization is an absolute must-see for art lovers, and highly
recommended for public library DVD collections. 2 DVDs, 192 min.,
widescreen, SDH subtitles.

Programmed To Be Fat?
A documentary from Dreamfilm
Bullfrog Films, Inc.
PO Box 149
Oley, PA 19547
1937772160 $250.00 www.bullfrogfilms.com

Licensed for public performance, Programmed To Be Fat? observes that
first-world nations with a modern American lifestyle have populations
that are heavier than ever. Is this entirely due to unhealthy diet and
exercise habits? Programmed To Be Fat? explores the research that
multiple scientists have done implying that man-made chemicals might
have compounded the obesity epidemic. Could exposure to certain
chemicals in the womb result in children who are genetically
programmed to be fatter? Experiments with lab mice seem to indicate as
much. The chemical BPA, which can be absorbed through the skin simply
from handling printed receipts or ingested by drinking/eating from
certain plastic containers, has been linked to weight gain, and is
extraordinarily prevalent in our modern culture. Programmed To Be Fat?
raises disturbing but vital questions about whether our current
procedures for testing the safety of chemicals are comprehensive
enough (especially when new chemicals seem to be "innocent until
proven guilty"), and is highly recommended. 45 min., SDH captions.

Monroe Series 1
Acorn Media Group
8515 Georgia Avenue, Suite 620
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3403
9781598287868 $39.99 www.acornonline.com

Monroe Series 1 is a collection on DVD of the British drama following
Dr. Gabriel Monroe (played by James Nesbitt, known for his work in
"Murphy's Law"), a witty neurosurgical genius with a strong sense of
right and wrong, and a maverick penchant for arrogantly defying the
rules. An outrage to his colleagues, a terror to his interns, and yet
a savior to his patients, Monroe and the rest of his surgical team
must navigate thorny challenges in their personal lives as well as
challenging life-or-death cases in their professional work. The extra
twists of tight plotting and dry, unforgettable British humor cement
"Monroe" as an absolute "must-see" for fans of medical drama! 6
episodes on 2 DVDs, 274 min., 16:9 widescreen, SDH subtitles.

Biophilic Design
a documentary by Stephen R. Kellert & Bill Finnegan
Bullfrog Films, Inc.
PO Box 149
Oley, PA 19547
1937772101 $250.00 www.bullfrogfilms.com

Licensed for public performance, Biophilic Design: The Architecture of
Life is a documentary that explores the intrinsic value of
incorporating elements of nature and natural life into human living,
working, and educational environments. "Green" architecture, which
often allows spaces for living trees or even ecosystems, is not only
environmentally friendly but also refreshing to the body and soul.
Patients in hospitals with biophilic design recover more quickly and
have less stress; workers in environments with biophilic design enjoy
themselves more and find it easier to concentrate; and students in
schools with biophilic design can benefit from whole new ways of
learning that teach them about the value of nature. A thought-
provoking study brimming with invaluable ideas especially for
architects, policy makers, and interior designers, Biophilic Design is
highly recommended. 60 min., SDH captioned.

Take Me Home
Monterey Media Inc.
566 St. Charles Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360-3901
9781569943656 $26.95 www.montereymedia.com

Take Me Home: A Comedy About The Road Less Traveled is a multiple
award-winning independent film about two people who stumble into one
another just as they are at the end of their respective ropes. Thom
Colvin (played by Sam Jaeger) is desperately struggling to pursue his
dream of being a professional photographer, but cannot scrape together
enough money to avoid being evicted, and moonlights as an unlicensed
cab driver to barely survive. Claire Barrow (played by Amber Jaeger)
is struggling with a troubled marriage, and two terrible events in one
day push her over the edge - an unexpected discovery of her husband on
too-friendly terms with his attractive secretary, and the news that
the emotionally distant father she hasn't seen in years has suffered a
heart attack. When Claire randomly happens into Thom's cab and demands
that he "just drive", it begins a cross-country odyssey that will
ultimately lead each of them to learn from one another, and find the
strength to confront their respective personal demons. A thoughtful
film, Take Me Home balances light romantic comedy with soulful
emotion, and is a journey that will entrance the viewer from beginning
to end. Highly recommended. Bonus features include a "behind the
scenes" segment and brief cast interviews. 97 min., closed captioned,
16:9 anamorphic, rated PG-13.

Rails to the Twin Ports
Pentrex
2652 East Walnut St.
Pasadena, CA 91107
1563423022 $29.95 www.pentrex.com

Rails to the Twin Ports is a spectacular DVD tour of the railroad
facilities of the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior,
Wisconsin, as recorded in the late 1990s by Pentrex, the
quintessential creators of entertainment for railroad aficionados.
Featuring gorgeous camerawork of the major railroads that served the
Twin Ports (Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Union Pacific, Canadian
Pacific, Canadian national, Wisconsin Central, and ore-haulers Duluth,
Missabe, & Iron Range), Rails to the Twin Ports is shows operations of
these hardy industrial trains across all four seasons. Informative
narration enhances this immersive documentary for railroad
aficionados! 1 hour 54 min., standard definition, 4x3 format. Also a
choice pick for railroad fans is the Pentrex documentary "UP 844 New
Mexico-Arizona Centennial Special" (1563423294, $29.95, 1 hour 42
min.), which follows an extraordinary, history-marking tour of a
veteran steam-powered train decades after the retirement of its model.

EDITOR'S NOTE:

The Midwest Book Review is an organization of volunteers committed to
promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing. We
accept no funds from authors or publishers. Full permission is given
to post any of these reviews on thematically appropriate websites,
newsgroups, listserves, internet discussion groups, organizational
newsletters, or to interested individuals. Please give the Midwest
Book Review a credit line when doing so.

The Midwest Book Review publishes the monthly book review magazines
"California Bookwatch", "Internet Bookwatch", "Children's Bookwatch",
"MBR Bookwatch", "Reviewer's Bookwatch", and "Small Press Bookwatch".
All are available for free on the Midwest Book Review website at www
(dot) midwestbookreview (dot) com

Anyone wanting to submit books for review consideration can send them
to:

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129

To submit reviews of any fiction or non-fiction books, email them to
Frugalmuse (at) aol (dot) com (Be sure to include the book title,
author, publisher, publisher address, publisher website/phone number,
13-digit ISBN number, and list price).

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
 
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